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Aerospace Industry Asks for More Clarity on BIS AUKUS Rule

The Bureau of Industry and Security's April rule to reduce certain export license requirements for Australia and the U.K. should incorporate some minor changes to clarify what types of exports are covered, the Aerospace Industries Association said in comments to the agency. AIA also asked BIS to clarify whether the new rules will include a transition period and to make sure the changes will be reflected in export filing requirements.

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But overall, the rule was “easy for industry to understand” and called for only “minor, technical recommendations,” Dak Hardwick, vice president of international affairs for AIA, said on LinkedIn. He shared the association’s comments days after the group submitted feedback for a similar rule by the State Department (see 2404300050), which AIA said was too restrictive and needed bigger revisions (see 2406030056).

The BIS rule was designed to amend the Export Administration Regulations so that Australia and the U.K. would have licensing treatment under the EAR similar to Canada, which would help the U.S. better share controlled technology under the Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS) Partnership (see 2404180035). AIA said its members “support” the rule and are “confident the proposed exemption will advance the goals of AUKUS by reducing regulatory barriers and harmonizing dual-use trade regulations between the three partners.”

As the agency finalizes the changes, it should make sure to work with industry so that licensing guidance and other “regulatory interpretations are clear,” the group said. AIA specifically said its members need more clarity on which Export Control Classification Numbers are subject to and excluded from the AUKUS exemption, partly because it’s unclear if the related software of certain excluded ECCNs is also excluded.

The exemption, for example, excludes certain spacecraft-related technology controlled under ECCN 9A515 technology and spacecraft technology data under ECCN 9E515 data, but it doesn’t exclude software controlled in the same category under ECCN 9D515, AIA said.

The group also said its members need more information on whether BIS is planning on a transition period for companies to study which of their exports may now have different licensing rules. This period could help them “evaluate current export licenses, determine which are now subject to the exemption, and comply with new record-keeping requirements.”

AIA also asked BIS to “coordinate across the interagency to share best practices and ensure that the regulatory structures of the AUKUS and Canadian exemption are aligned,” especially for the Census Foreign Trade Regulations. The FTR should be updated to exempt Australia and the U.K. from Electronic Export Information reporting requirements, AIA said, similar to the exemption for Canada. Census can also add a “No License Required (NLR) designation” for certain encryption exports to Australia and the U.K., the group said, adding that Canada also has this designation.

The group also asked BIS to “maintain license exemptions for ECCNs that do not qualify under the AUKUS exemption.” It specifically said “9x515 items are currently eligible for Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) but are excluded from the interim final rule. Existing license exemptions are critical to AUKUS and broader U.S. national security objectives.”

BIS hasn’t yet released the public comments it received on the rule. The comment period ended June 3.